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24 Hours to Showtime
Tewa Evans and Edna Stelling turned out to mourn a nasty man played by Don Yeager in a skit that also featured Michelle Kukurin Chris Evans and William Pattnosh.
Thursday, November 9, 2023


It was billed as a 24 Hour Theater Festival. But it turned into a 25 Hour Theater Festival, thanks to the hour gained from the end of Daylight Savings Time.

The Liberty Theatre Company invited the community to come together for a 24-hour period to form teams, brainstorm ideas, write 5- to 10-minute skits and practice them, starting promptly at 6 p.m. Saturday night.

There were only a few requirements, including one requiring them to use a red ribbon in their plays.

Frankie Duke and Megan Smith take “The plunge” in a skit about a young couple leaping into love written by Laura Duncan and directed by David Janeski.

So many adults and children wanted to take part that they had to cap participation at 50, said Naomi McDougall Jones, the theater company’s artistic director.

“It’s been chaotic mayhem,” she said as a sell-out crowd filtered into The Mint to watch the end result at 6 p.m. Sunday. “But so much fun and we saw adults, families, children come out. The thing I love about live theater is that anything can happen.”

An actor was assigned to each group, each crafting even stage directions in their scripts.

Matt Musgrove and Chris Carwithen wrote a skit about youngsters breaking into a toy store after dark.  The kids played by Clive Bates, Grace Bloedorn and Hoken Johnston finally find what they’re looking for: A life-sized robot played by Rachel Aanestad, who just finished up the Liberty Theatre Company’s run of “Chicago.”

Kerry Brokaw and, Ellie Newman took part in a skit featuring a cruise ship staff nudging a young couple to leap into love.

“This is the toy everyone’s flippin’ out about?” asks one. “She’s a robot that can be any-one,” replied another, noting the robot’s name “Annie1.”

The robot whirs to life, quoting famous figures in rapid succession as the kids challenge her to be “anyone.”

Annie grabs a velvet bag, telling the youngsters: “What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.” One boy opens the bag finding nothing in it. But Grace opens it to find gold.

One boy challenges Annie1 to fight him with a lightsaber, shades of Darth Vader, only to have the security guard played by Matt Musgrove arrive to usher them out of the store. As they go, the robot looks at Grace: “Who do you want me to be?”

Naomi McDougall Jones narrates “The Magician’s Quest” as Will Hemmings shows off his magic touch.

“I want to hug my Mom,” Grace says running into its arms.

“You know that’s a display model. You can come back anytime,” the security guard tells Grace as she walks off stage.

“I love acting—it’s just a fun thing to do. And I loved spending all day working with adults on this,” said  Bloedorn, a Sun Valley Community School student who played Grace. “I like movies, sci-fi, different genres. And I loved the creative process--how we were able to come up with an amazing script in just one day. It was such a unique experience.”

Diana Citret was part of an eight-member team that included actors Will Hemmings and three children---Mykala McCann, Finn Wohlwend and Freya Wohlwend. They brainstormed ideas about magic, and McDougall Jones and Joel Vilinsky wrote a script about three competing wizards who dig into a magic box.

Children played by Clive Bates, Hoke Johnston and Grace Bloedorn watch as a robot played by Rachel Aanestad comes to life.

“It happened so fast,” said Citret, who portrayed four parts, including the wind and a dragon.

The last line of the play was, “If you dig deep, that’s where you find treasure.”

“The whole thing was hysterical,” said Citret, who designed the costumes. “I did it because I wanted to do something outside of my comfort zone.  I’m so glad I took part because it was so creative. I learned not to worry but to play. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, but that doesn’t matter. Trust and relax and have fun.”

Michelle DeLateur, Suzanne Gerlits, Page Klune, Jamie McLean, Marline Rennels and Susan Sebold took part in a high school reunion story told in rhyme. Tewa Evans and Elise Benziger were among a handful of people taking part in a skit called “My Time Is Up,” written by teammate Michelle Kukurin.

They came together to pay their respects—or, disrepects—to an arrogant, nasty man.  

“You told me you had a vasectomy,” Edna Benziger chided the man in the box as an opera singer and crier paid by the deceased uttered loud wails. “Now I’m having a menopausal baby.”

“Taking part in this was so fun, and healing, too,” said Benziger, who has been dealing with health issues.

A sell-out crowd watched the skits, and they were generous with their laughs.

“It really was a lot of fun.  Some really funny skits, some amazing kid actors, a lot of laughter.  I was impressed,” said Susan Giannettino. 

“A lot of the participants said they hadn’t been on stage for so long,” said Musgrove. “It was so much fun to work with all the different ages and give community a chance to write and direct.”

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